The Boston Red Sox don’t usually have a pitcher deserving of the Cy Young and MVP Award but 2017 is very different and Chris Sale is nothing less of deserving
After Chris Sale’s last performance, few if any can argue that Chris Sale will win the Cy Young with a unanimous decision. The Red Sox have won back to back Cy Young Awards in the past before with Roger Clemens winning the Award in 1986 and 1987 and of course more recently with Pedro Martinez in 1999 and 2000. The Sox could win back to back for the first time with different starters for the first time in their history.
Sale’s latest start went four eight innings allowing zero runs on two hits, walked one, and struck out 13 batters. He could have gone the whole distance had it not been for Craig Kimbrel, best closer in all of baseball ready in the wings. The Red Rocket struck out the side to get his 28th save on the season. Sale had thrown 112 pitches, 80 going for strikes.
No one could forget Rick Porcello’s performance of 2016. No one will forget Sale’s performance this season either. He is well on pace to strike out more batters than Pedro did back in 1999 when he struck out 315 batters. Sale is 86 batters away from reaching the mark. He’ll easily surpass 300 K’s this season. Another start or so should do the trick. Does Sale have the ability to strike out 350+ batters? It’s possible.
Sale is only getting better and has stated that he wants to stay in Boston for the long haul. If you have a guy like Sale committing long term to the team, you know you don’t have to worry about finding a number one Ace. That part is over. If David Price can fix his attitude, he’d make a formidable number two man but that’s looking less likely by the day. He sees himself as the best pitcher in Boston and with Sale that’s now impossible.
What Sale has done this season is remarkable and taking into consideration that he should have a at least 3 – 4 more wins, it makes it that much more insane. Forget about hitters that are lighting it up before the All Star Break and then forgot how to find the fence in the 2nd half. Sale has been just as consistent in the 2nd half as he was in the 1st half. How he’s not getting more consideration in astounding.
Some have claimed that Sale performs poorly in the 2nd half of the season. If that were the case, I’m struggling to see what qualifies as a poor performance. Does throwing less than 10 strike outs in a game count? Sale threw 10+ in 12 of 18 starts before the All Star Break. He’s thrown 10+ in three of five since. So his percentage has dropped from 67% to 60% as far as that’s concerned. He’s still 3 – 0 since. So what are people talking about?
Sale leads the league in Wins (14), ERA (2.57), and leads the majors in Strike Outs (229). Sale is also just one win away from the major league lead of 15 wins and the 3rd in ERA in all of baseball but that could shift to 2nd overall in time with Clayton Kershaw not meeting eligibility requirements.
Simply put, there has not been a Cy Young Triple Crown Winner as exciting as Sale in what feels like forever. Pedro and Randy Johnson were the last two exciting pitchers to lead in all three categories. Kershaw won the Triple Crown back in 2011 when he was considered the best pitcher in baseball. That title now belongs to Mr. Sale.
If Sale averages 10 strike outs per start for the rest of the season, he’ll get just under 300 K’s with 299. Knowing Sale though, 10 strike outs a game just isn’t good enough. I’m going to say that Sale averages another 11.25 K’s per game and averaging that out for the rest of the season, we’re looking at something around 330 K’s on the season.
The soon to be Cy Young and hopeful MVP Award winner will make his next start on August 13th against the rival Yankees in New York.
Photo Credit – Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports